Imran Khan says ready to probe oppositions' rigging allegations, promises reforms


A suicide bomber has killed at least 31 people and wounded many more at a polling station in the Pakistani city of Quetta, rounding off a campaign season stained by indiscriminate violence. As Mike Armstrong explains, the election results could have wider repercussions for the region.

"The overwhelming sentiment in favor of PTI all over the country proves that the people of Pakistan now want IK as their leader and PTI as the party in power to bring about the much needed change this country has been waiting for", Haque said in an earlier statement. "Pakistan has suffered today", he told journalists at a press conference.

"The delay is being caused because the result transmission system has collapsed".

Pakistan's next leader will urgently need to deal with a mounting economic crisis: four currency devaluations since December have made it likely the next government will seek another International Monetary Fund bailout.

Khan has also increasingly catered to hardline religious groups, particularly over the inflammatory issue of blasphemy, sparking fears a win for PTI could embolden Islamist extremists.

In other areas, it said, "polling staff appeared to be biased toward a certain party", without naming the party.

Imran further said that "we will run this country like it has never been run before", and added that he pledges to guard the wealth and taxes of the people.

A third party, the Pakistan Peoples Party headed by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari - son of slain prime minister Benazir Bhutto - could be called upon to form a coalition with any victor. Awami National Party, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, Pak-Sarzameen Party, Muttahida Majlas-i-Amal and Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan alleged that their polling agents were either ousted of the polling stations at the time of counting or denied certified results by the polling staff.

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The military deployed some 350,000 troops to secure the country's 85,000 polling stations.

The PML-N has taken hope in another opinion poll focusing on Punjab only - Sharif's party had a lead of 51 per cent to PTI's 30 per cent, according to the IPOR Consulting survey conducted from April 15 to June 2.

Khan, 65, campaigned on populist promises to build a "New Pakistan" and vowed to eradicate corruption, clean up the environment and construct an "Islamic welfare" state.

The PML-N and the PPP both said their monitors in many voting centres had not received the official notifications of the precinct's results, but instead got hand-written tallies that they could not verify.

The PPP managed to maintain its stronghold in the Sindh Assembly and should lead the provincial government. The election was marred by a deadly suicide attack and allegations of manipulation by the powerful military, with several parties raising objections over the entire process. The army has also dismissed allegations of meddling in the election.

The election is considered Pakistan's second consecutive democratic transition in 71 years. The military has ruled Pakistan through various coups for almost half of the country's history since independence in 1947.

For Khan and his PTI, the results are a vindication of a five-year anti-corruption struggle, with the party taking credit for Nawaz Sharif's disqualification last year and his imprisonment, along with his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (R) Muhammad Safdar.